Catholics/Occasional Drinking



I just need your Catholic expert advice and want to know if I need to change some actions or what I am doing is okay.

I know that the first miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ was to change water into wine. It means people can drink alcohol during occasions?

When I want to feel sleepy, sometimes I drink a bottle or two. Sometimes I drink with my friends. Yet drinking has never been a vice to me.

I don't go to bars, I don't drink much, but the thing is I drink sometimes to feel relaxed especially when I am stressed.

Am I doing something wrong which God forbids? Thank you.

Wine was a common beverage in the Roman empire, both East and West, in the time of Christ, and in some areas, beer.  Part of this had to do with the antiseptic nature of the alcohol, since water in certain areas might not be pure (though the Roman fountain system did much to counter that).  The Romans would typically dilute their wine, however, so that it might have had more of the alcoholic content of modern beer (about 3 per cent).  This is a good practice today as well.

Scripture does not condemn wine, but drunkenness, that is, excess.  St. Paul, much like modern medicine, recommends, "a little wine for the stomach," as one of wine's properties is as a digestive with food.  Many modern studies have shown the beneficial effects of alcohol,  particularly wine, for diabetes, the liver, the heart, the circulatory system, etc.  

It is hard to argue that a beverage that has been consumed by humanity as its standard beverage for millennia could be deleterious -- in moderation.  Wine and beer are actually foods.  Wine is a complex substance, the product of natural fermentation, whose nutritional components are just beginning to be understood, such as Resveratrol, which is considered to be beneficial to the circulatory system.  Beer is a grain beverage, which contains B vitamins, among other things.

I am speaking here of the normal case, where a person has no special medical problem that would make consumption imprudent and can imbibe 20 grams (about 1.5 drinks) without problems.  A minority have problems with alcohol or a problem with drinking to excess (dypsomania) that would make consumption imprudent.

When you say, a "bottle or two," I assume that you mean a standard bottle of 360 millilitres of beer, not wine.  That would be within the 20 gram recommendation -- for beer, not for wine.


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Fr. Michael


A traditional Catholic priest, who provides forthright answers to questions FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF TRADITIONAL CATHOLICISM (not the New Order) on topics pertaining to TRADITIONAL Roman Catholicism, including theology, the Bible, Church history, the Latin language, liturgy (especially the Traditional Latin Mass), and music (especially Gregorian chant), and current events in the Catholic Church.

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